What do Product Managers do? Roles & Responsibilities, Skills, Qualification, Tools


To thrive in a fiercely competitive business environment, companies must establish a robust product management system. The product management team ensures that the products and services delivered are in line with the market requirements while maintaining that the overall corporate goals are met at each stage of the product lifecycle.
Here comes the role of product managers – who lead the product management team towards the success of a product. Are you curious to know if you can make a career out of it? You are thinking of taking a product management course? In this article, we will talk about product management with a focus on product managers’ job descriptions

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What is Product Management? 

Before we go into the details of a product managers’ job description, we must understand what product management is – it is an organizational principle within companies that guides the planning, forecasting, and marketing of a product or service at each stage of the product’s lifecycle. It is the product manager’s responsibility to ensure that the corporate strategies are aligned with the market needs.

Product management acts as a centre of product and market information for different parts of the company like Sales, Finance, Marketing, Management, Development, and Support. Product managers have to communicate with each of these distinct internal departments as well as interact with clients, customers, and external stakeholders. Thus, product management entails the setting up of the strategy and roadmap of the product while ensuring customer satisfaction and optimal utilization of the invested time, money, and energy. 

Classification of Product Manager Roles 

Lightweight product managers – Since the executive management team is dominant in the planning and management of the product portfolio; lightweight product managers operate as a peer on the product management team. They are engaged in market assessment, identification of opportunities for new products, and their successful commercial launch. They define product requirements based on customer needs. They are not responsible for the overall profit and loss of the product line.

Heavyweight product managers – Their roles are similar to those of lightweight product managers. Also, they have control over the management of profit and loss for the product line. Acting as the general manager for the product line, they have more authority over the product’s portfolio planning and govern the development efforts of the product management team. 

Key Responsibilities of Product Managers 

Product managers’ job description outlines the following responsibilities:

  • Setting out the product vision, roadmap, and strategy.
  • Specifying the research needed to gather market information for determining and representing the needs of customers.
  • Providing insights and perspective on product portfolio planning.
  • Reviewing product specifications and requirements and evaluating new product ideas.
  • Working in liaison with marketing, sales, engineering, and support to ensure the fulfillment of business case goals and customer satisfaction.
  • Gauging market competition by comparing competitors’ products with those of the company.
  • Calling on customers with field salespeople to evaluate sales call results and assessing product market data.
  • Defining the objectives for product marketing communication. 
  • Preparing short-term and long-term forecasts, reports, and analyses on product sales. 
  • Determining product pricing based on market research data and reviewing production and sales cost.
  • Recruiting and training employees for product management staff.

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Skills and Qualifications of Product Manager 

The role of product managers requires some fundamental skills:

  • Business expertise – Profit generation is mostly dependent on the success of the product. To maintain the profitability of the product, the product manager should have a suite of business expertise and skills.
  • Domain expertise – Knowledge of the business, the market, the product, and the customers is a crucial pre-requisite for the role of product managers.
  • Leadership skills – Being the one who leads the product management team, a product manager must have sound leadership skills.
  • Strategist – Product managers must be meticulous at strategic planning. They set the product goals based on a market-driven strategy and work towards achieving the goals while considering the organization’s potential and capabilities.
  • Accountant – Besides defining goals and initiatives, a strategic product manager must keep a record of the performance metrics that determine the success of the strategy and the product. 

Learn More: Key Skills for Product Managers

upGrad’s Exclusive Product Management Webinar for you –

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Tools Used by Product Managers 

Leading product development from conception to completion is not a child’s play and requires specialized product management tools. Earlier, product managers relied on limited resources such as project management software, spreadsheets, and presentations to define ideas, set roadmaps, design strategies, and prioritize product features.

These tools did very little to ease the task of product managers and were quite time-consuming. But today, several tools are available that simplifies the Herculean task of product managers – be it defining product strategy or setting out features. Here is a list of some of the tools with examples:

Also Read: Product Manager Interview Questions & Answers

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Product management is, indeed, a crucial process that dictates the profitability of a product. As discussed above, the role of product managers is the driving force behind the successful completion of a product lifecycle. From conducting market research, identifying potential products, and determining specifications, pricing, and strategies, a product manager wears many hats.

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In a way, a product manager directs the company on a competitive path in the future. If you’re eager to learn about Product Management and interested to become a great product manager, you need to demonstrate qualities of leadership, check out the Post Graduate Certificate in Product Management for it is you who’ll guide your team towards the path of success

How much money do product managers make?

The role of a product manager is one of the most lucrative ones in today's times, considering the salary they earn, the nature of the job, and responsibilities. In fact, product manager jobs are among the highest-paying occupations in the entire world. The average salary of a product manager in India is roughly INR 16 lakhs per year. When we talk about a salary range, it can be said that they can earn anything from INR 5.5 lakhs up to INR 35 lakhs in a year. But this varies on many factors, work experience being the prime one.

Can a product manager become the company CEO?

An essential part of the role of a product manager is representing the end-user in the product development process. Like CEOs, they also have to focus on company revenues, specific customer requirements, and the product development team. Product managers have the right combination of skills to become top leaders. Product managers can easily excel in executive leadership roles with their customer-centric approach. We have several instances of product managers transitioning to the levels of C-suite executives. For instance, Satya Nadella of Microsoft Corporation, Sundar Pichai of Google, Susan Wojcicki of YouTube, and Marissa Mayer of Yahoo were all product managers before they transitioned to the CEO role.

Can robots replace product managers in the future?

With the rising prevalence of automation across all industries, it is natural to wonder whether robots can replace product managers. However, there is almost no chance for robots to take over product manager roles any time in the future. On the other hand, experts feel that automation and AI will be redefining product manager roles, where they will be involved in making more decisions than before. Product managers can embrace these changes that will only transform and ease their overall tasks and help them think big with advanced technologies.

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